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Kalix High-Performance Polyamides

For Use in Mobile Healthcare Electronic Devices

Solvay Specialty Polymers has introduced a new family of Kalix high-performance polyamides (HPPAs) for structural components used in mobile healthcare (mHealth) electronic devices. The new products, which include the Kalix HPPA 5000 halogen-free series and bio-based Kalix HPPAs, deliver exceptional strength, stiffness, and significantly improved chemical resistance versus traditional polycarbonate (PC) or PC/acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) materials typically used for covers and housings for mHealth electronic devices.

The new Kalix HPPAs – first launched for smart mobile electronics at K2013 in Germany last October – are a unique offering targeted for frames and covers for healthcare displays, terminals, and modules along with chassis, housings, and bezels for mHealth devices.

Kalix 5950 HFFR’s high flow and low moisture absorption make it particularly suited for injection molding large structural components such as frames and covers for displays, terminals, and modules that require strength, rigidity, and exceptional dimensional stability. Kalix 5950 HFFR has received an Underwriters Laboratories (UL) 94 flammability rating of V0 for electrical/electronics applications for thicknesses of 0.4 mm and above and 5VA at thicknesses of 1.5 mm and above (both ratings are for all colors). The 50% glass fiber-reinforced grade provides greater mechanical properties than competing HFFR polyamides, and serves as an alternative to metals. Its exceptional mechanical properties include a tensile modulus of 20 GPa (2900 kpsi) and tensile strength of 250 MPa (36 ksi).

Bio-based HPPAs

Solvay has also introduced a new portfolio of bio-based HPPAs for healthcare OEMs wanting to incorporate renewable, bio-based polymers for mHealth devices. This includes the Kalix HPPA 3000 series, the first bio-based amorphous PPA, and the Kalix 2000 series, a family of bio-sourced PPA grades that provide outstanding impact resistance. According to Gallahue-Worl, the company’s expanded portfolio of bio-based PAs is driven by environmentally-conscious medical manufacturers who are continually striving for more sustainable alternatives.

The Kalix 3000 series breaks new ground as the industry’s first bio-based amorphous PPA. The two new grades – Kalix 3850 and Kalix 3950 – provide less warp, reduced shrinkage, and low to no flash. This improved processability results in tighter dimensional tolerances and more cost-effective manufacturing due to fewer secondary operations such as deflashing. Both compounded grades consist of 16% renewable content, according to the ASTM D6866 test method for determining bio-based carbon content.

Meanwhile, the new Kalix 2000 series, based on PA 6,10, consists of Kalix 2855 and Kalix 2955. They provide strong mechanical properties, high impact strength, an exceptional surface finish, and low moisture absorption. These two compounded grades consist of 27% renewable content according to ASTM D6866.

Both the Kalix 2000 and 3000 series contain monomers that come from the sebacic acid chain which is derived from non-food competing and GMO-free castor oil. Overall, in addition to their renewable content, the grades (between 50-55% glass fiber loading) provide greater strength and stiffness than most competing glass-reinforced materials including high-performance PAs and lower-performing engineering plastics such as PC.

Both the Kalix 2000 and 3000 series offer an ultra-smooth surface finish. Along with Kalix 5950 HFFR, they can be matched to a wide range of colors including the bright and light colors used for mHealth electronic devices. They can also be painted with existing coatings commonly used for these devices.

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